This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of a shooting in Portland, Texas, that lesbian teen Kristen Chapa miraculously survived but that killed her girlfriend, Mollie Olgin.
Chapa told NBC News that the last year has involved many challenges in her recovery as she moved from a wheelchair to eventually using a cane to walk. Doctors say the trauma from removing part of her brain from the shooting resulted in injuries from a left-handed stroke, including hearing and vision loss.
Police haven’t found the man who approached the couple on June 23, 2012, forced them into a secluded area of Violet Andrews Park and shot them, but have narrowed it down to a suspect who’s incarcerated in another state. They haven’t identified a motive, but haven’t ruled out a hate crime. No arrest has been made yet, but Chapa said she wants the man caught, as she still fears for her life.
“I want them to hurry up and find the person because … there are still times where I find myself scared, wondering if they’re going to come after me,” she told NBC News. “I’m always looking around, seeing if I recognize anyone. There’s still a part of me that’s scared.”
Chapa has mourned losing Olgin and regrets the two of them fought the night of the attack. Olgin wanted to meet Chapa’s parents, but Chapa hadn’t told them she was gay, a fact police later revealed when they informed them Chapa and her girlfriend had been shot.
“Every day I think about her,” Chapa said. “I pray for her, just for her to watch over me.”
Chapa plans to go to college in the future, starting with one class at a time because heavy focus and concentration gives her headaches. She’d also require help taking notes and a tutor, but she said won’t let the shooting hold her back from being as close to 100 percent as possible.
“I’ve come a long way and I know I won’t be 100 percent again, but I’ll be pretty close to it,” she said.